The Montreal Gazette has an interesting story about the MINI's testosterone laden advertising and why it's important to the brand. Here's an excerpt:

BMW's much-anticipated Mini Cooper

In the U.S, billboards compare the little power-packed ragtop to a little power-packed motorcycle favoured by stunt riders known as a “crotch rocket.”

Another ad features a photo of a purple Mini convertible against a black background and neon-like words “Topless XXS Always Open.”

In Canada, online and television ads will be slightly more tame. One ad features a twenty-something guy in a suit jumping into the open convertible in slow motion and the tag line “Always Open.”

This much is clear: these cars might be small, but they're manly. And it illustrates a bizarre car-marketing paradox: in the business of marketing cars, the C-word is “cute.” If a car is perceived as a “chickmobile”, it's poison to men.

…The way to avoid the stigma is not just in the marketing, but ensuring that the buzz is backed up with real motor muscle, said Mark Pauze, an automotive intelligence consultant with R.L. Polk & Co..

Mini advertising has always focused on the high performance angle, precisely for this reason.

“The vehicle needs to be perceived on its performance abilities. If that means it's not a female car, we want it to be masculine. Then it's achieving the objective for the brand,” said Kevin Marcotte, a spokesperson for BMW Group Canada.

“Women will buy boyish things, but men will not buy girly things,” said Martha Barletta, a Chicago-based consultant and author of Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach and Increase Your Share of the Largest Market Segment.

You can read the entire article here.